By: Heidi McNeil
Successful relationships are filled with many different elements that collectively make partners feel connected and fulfilled within their unity. These elements are what Gary Chapman, the author of The 5 Languages of Love, refers to as the “ five key ways that a person can give and receive love.”(Chapman, 1995)
These elements, or languages, cater to the individual. Not every language speaks volumes to every individual, and some individuals require more than one language to feel fully connected with their partner. Humorously, many of us have a “perception” of what our language of love is, and our partners will tell us it is much different than we think it is. What do you think your language is?
Words of Affirmation
Couples easily forget the power and strength that words of affirmation can bring to a relationship. Hearing a direct and positive compliment easily can demonstrate appreciation and be a powerful reinforcement of communicating love. Feeling appreciated is one of the most basic needs we have as people, and words of affirmation can hit us right where we need it. How does it make you feel when your loved one expresses their appreciation for you or pays you a compliment? Does it speak to your language of love?
Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue can bring death or life…”
Quality time can be a real challenge in today’s world, with technology and conveniences flowing like water. It is not the time you spend sitting across from your loved one at a restaurant with your smartphone in hand or sitting in front of the T.V. searching for something to watch on Netflix. Quality time is the time, where it is just you and your loved one…unplugged…undistracted from other things. Because time is such a hot commodity, taking the time to simply talk and listen to your loved one can be the greatest gift in the world. Having devoted time to your loved one, does that speak to your language of love?
Love is unarguably a wonderful gift in itself; however, many also want the expression of love to be through tangible symbols of love. These symbols profess your love to any and all. Typically, the gift is not about the cost or even the item, it is about what it symbolizes. That gift means that even when you were away from me, I was on your mind, and you are communicating that through both the gift and the way it is presented. Do you enjoy the way it feels to receive a gift from your loved one? If so, perhaps this is your language of love.
Acts of Service
This love language speaks loudly to those that believe “actions speak louder than words.” Acts of service include feeling love when someone cleans your home or makes a meal.
This language can often be misconstrued by the belief that it is related to gender-related specificity, but genuinely it is not. There are women and men alike that thrive off of this language of love. It removes stress and worry (and at times work) from the plate of a loved one. Do you feel the most loved when someone is acting in service towards you? Does that sound like your language of love?
Physical touch is a universal love language. It transcends culture and time. For some individuals, physical touch is their primary love language, and without it, they do not feel complete within a relationship. For those that were not raised in a “hugging” family, this can be a really hard language to reciprocate. Yet in the name of love, it is a challenge that you must work to overcome. Does physical touch make you feel whole and safe in your relationship? If so, this may be your language of love?
Chances are you have put a little mental checkmark next to a couple of the languages that you relate to, and that is completely normal. Most of us have one or two that are more important than the rest. The thing to remember is that we all express and feel love differently, and understanding that is half the battle. Once, you and your partner are on the same page with what each other’s love languages are and how to express them more, the success of your relationship can increase exponentially.
Chapman, G. D. (1995). The five love languages: How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate. Chicago: Northfield Pub.